How To Get Through Challenging Times (From Someone Who’s Been Through Many)

The fall season is a time when I instinctively become more quiet with a happiness in looking and listening inward even more than other times. As I do and I review all that I’ve experienced in my life, I feel amazed. I see the many wonderful experiences that have come my way, as well as the exceedingly challenging ones. I review the countless people, both personal friends and numerous clients with whom I’ve shared deeply meaningful interactions. I feel so appreciative and grateful for having come now to a place of thriving happiness and peace.  Truly to master one’s mind is to master one’s life.
It is one of the highest priorities in my life to help alleviate the suffering that people experience, and I’m aware of how my own inspirational story informs everything that I do and how much I have to offer. My compassion, insight, and skill are all interwoven with my expertise as a result of my own life experience. Perhaps this is why I was often called “magic” in the nonprofit social worker world. I have worked with the most challenged segments of our population including adult survivors of child abuse, domestic violence, drug abuse, the homeless and runaways, those classified as the least rehireble, poor seniors, those challenged with infertility and troubled pregnancies, complicated medical conditions, traumas and phobias, leaders/artists/athletes experiencing blocks and many more.
I am led to consider what the essential qualities are that have brought me through the largest challenges and to my present state of being grounded and more present than ever before. I consider my experiences of childhood trauma, domestic violence, a serious car crash and four-year disability that followed, a corporate shootout, earthquakes, floods, three times close to death, and more moves than one could count. Through all of these there have been many prolonged times of great suffering, and many miraculous resurrections. There has also been a set of qualities that allowed my suffering to be temporary so that I was able to arise through these chapters, and set forth to design a life that is now both kind and healthy as well as deeply loving.
So what are the qualities that have brought me through these times of prolonged challenge? What was key to moving the energy of my suffering, transforming it into healing and the resulting depth of appreciation and gratitude that I now consistently experience?
During the most trying times, I’ve been told many things. Importantly it is resourcefulness, perseverance, and no-bounds openness to know myself. I have opened to whatever would be required of me to change the conditions ~ no limits. This includes a certain type of openness to what is happening right now without resistance or clinging.  Something that can be very difficult.  It is a surrender and resting in the present.  This is helped by knowing that all things are temporary, and life is created to change and will.  Still if that forms as pushing it can cause disturbance in the process of healing with it’s movement of resistance.  It is a subtle refinement of these components that becomes skillful with practice.
I am aware that most people would have given up rather than continuing to explore avenues knowing change would come in my circumstances, and yet that form of giving up was never an option I considered. I look at the times that I had to sell and barter everything of value in order to acquire the help I needed, and the humility and humiliation that was required in petitioning others for help. Gentleness and compassion are so essential… to oneself and others.
I look at the recognition that our imaginations have been given to us to envision and feel into every aspect of designing a life that we need and desire; our imagining draws this new life to us. When we create the dream, it will form and pull us into it. I am living proof of this. I see that out of my every breath came the determination to expand my awareness and to discern wise steps through my internal guidance system … my exceptional intuition, even when it seemed so distant and silent. I note the moments that required absolute courage to extend beyond expectations and limits. The sheer guts that was essential to do the unthinkable, terrifying thing that turned the key in these situations.
I consider how many days, hours, moments of practice it requires to transform old imprints and counterproductive mental habits, stories that are self-defeating. This must be an ongoing process for everyone, an invitation to let go of what we tightly grasp as what we think we know. Becoming comfortable in the “I don’t know” place can be a tough one.
Does this mean that we must have mastered all of these skills to move through hard times.  Absolutely not; it is important, however, to intentionally cultivate these qualities especially when things are going well. Learn how to swim before we’re drowning.  Importantly, I am acutely aware of the profound Love that has broken open within my heart during these times that continues on, a depth of love far more potent than any temptation of bitterness.
We each come into life with a blueprint, a design with tendencies, obscurations, and strengths. There have been many times that these qualities arose in ways that felt beyond myself. At the time of need, I did not feel the strength either physically, mentally, or emotionally to meet the circumstances nor to advocate for myself. And yet a Presence deep within was able to bring these qualities to life. Within this Presence rests Grace. For me, Grace is the energy beyond myself who, when that significant moment comes turns the key and releases us from the prison that we have created and in which we have been suffering. Regardless of how dire our circumstances Grace is the magical companion, the ultimate lover, and the most loyal ally anyone could ever know.
So as I return to look at the ten essential qualities that have brought me to move through so much, I include the following: Resourcefulness, Perseverance, Determination, Humility, Courage, Awareness, Practice, Openness, Vision, and Love … all of which would be insufficient without our ultimate friend Grace.
If you’d like to experience how to live by purpose, to obtain skills, wisdom, and empowerment through life’s challenges, to know how to tune into your intuition… your place of peace and power and feel life through the eyes of wonder contact me. If you’d appreciate an experienced mentor to walk with you in this life journey, one who understands through actual experience and insight, I am here. If you’re ready to allow Happiness to find you, let’s work together. Life is an amazing journey. Feel free to contact me by email, telephone, or by becoming part of my “Join the Experience” groups now forming. Be well and take good care. Much love to you ~ Alaya
Alaya M. Ketani BA CHT CPC

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